6 Savvy reasons to go digital

Plus, the software that will transform your CMMS

One of the most dangerous phrases in business is ‘that’s the way we have always done it’ – Just ask blockbuster.

I get it. You consider a paper system one that anybody can pick up and run with, doesn’t require any technical aptitude and doesn’t bother you with alerts and notices that constantly remind you there are things to be done.

So, why would you want to give up the comfort of a clipboard in your hand?

Unfortunately, our ships are getting smarter, gaining more assets and requiring more certificates to work with.

By now, if you’re running paper Safety, Compliance and Maintenance Systems, it is probably starting to resemble an oversized Dictionary or a series of binders stuffed to the brink with forms, information, checklists and colourful post-it reminders.

What’s the simple solution?

In short, in a modern marine company, traditional paper-based systems are unsustainable and do not accommodate company growth and planning.

That’s why we’ve gone ahead and listed the most obvious reasons why you should seriously consider upgrading to a digital Management System.           

  1. It reduces labour and filing costs

 The number one reason many companies are hesitant to make the change to a digital system is that they think it’s expensive. Though it is an investment, don’t think for one second that a paper system is free. With a paper system, records can be accidentally hidden away, forgotten about, misplaced, or even lost. A 2014 report released by Brendan Goleby, Document Management Specialist, reveals the average costs to physically manage documents in an office –

•          $25,000 to fill a filing cabinet.

•          $2,500 a year to maintain a filing cabinet.

•          15 minutes on average to retrieve and file each document.

•          $20 labour looking for a misfiled document.

•          3% of paper documents are misfiled.

•          5% of paper documents get lost completely.

•          $250 labour cost to recreate lost documents.

•          Up to an average of 19 photocopies of the same document.

These figures don’t even account for the cost of delays etc. that occur when documents are not tracked/handled properly. Or the time crew spend scanning/printing, inputting handwritten notes into excel spreadsheets, emailing, or trying to interpret the scribble of notes left by an opposite swing crew member.

A professional digital marine Safety, Compliance and Maintenance System cuts out 90% of this. All files are stored digitally, easily recovered when needed, and let’s not forget – give you some of your office floor space back.

But this is just scratching the surface – Let’s dive deeper…

2.         Information is easily and quickly accessible

When someone needs to locate a file in a hurry, they must first search manually through all the possible locations the information could be hiding – using up their precious time and wasting others while they all wait for the information to be found. This is just frustrating, adds unnecessary pressure to the team, and the ticking clock is costing the company more money than it’s worth – this time could be much better spent, wouldn’t you agree?

In contrast, a system such as Helm CONNECT comes with powerful search and reporting tools to expedite this entire process down to a few mouse clicks. Information is accessible in real-time, and in the case of sensitive information, access can be restricted to certain team/crew members.

3.         Analysis and reporting capabilities

A common theme you have most likely started to notice – paper systems are rife with problematic areas that cost your business.

Yet another is trying to accumulate information so you may properly analyse and report on findings. This type of task can be labour-intensive and is exposed to error. 

When using a modern software system that encompasses Safety, Compliance and Maintenance tracking, you can display chosen information in an analytic overview. This allows for information to be viewed at a glance without hunting for it. An incredibly powerful tool that cuts down labour waste exponentially.

Another aspect is reporting. Have you ever combed through your asset information trying to find the most current fuel burn rates on all your engines from recorded data across your fleet, while trying to meet a 30-minute deadline for the boss?

With a system such as Helm CONNECT, this data can be turned into a report, extracted and emailed over in a matter of mere minutes after a few clicks of a mouse button. Talk about efficient.

4.         Certification tracking

It can be argued that working in a marine environment requires more certification and licenses than any other career. Not only do the mariners have to keep track of the validity of their own licenses and certifications in their roles, but human resources are required to also make sure that all crew meet the requirements for their designated roles.

Additionally, marine managers/fleet engineers track all surveys, certifications of vessels and the age of vessels and the equipment it carries. On larger, more technical vessels, we are talking about tracking hundreds of certifications and licenses, where the fallout of mistakes could potentially lead to a vessel or crew member being unable to work.

Tracking these via a traditional spreadsheet or graph is not only a huge time sink, but the chance of misinterpretation from reading the wrong line, or losing data is a recipe for disaster.

A modern software system, such as Helm CONNECT can safely protect your company against these costly mishaps.

Some of its primary strengths include:

  • Notifying crew members when their certificates are coming due, allowing time for a renewal process before expiration
  • Keeping managers and fleet engineers informed of pending survey requirements, allowing for correct planning procedures and reducing asset downtime to a minimum.
  • Identifying if a crew member has the right license for the role at a glance.

5.         Communication

With a paper system, communication is non-existent. Typically, one person maintains all the information, handles the requests, rolls out the information, and if unavailable through being away, can cause anarchy in a marine company.

Transparency across a system like Helm CONNECT allows access for all team members and crew so they can view the information they require in real-time, expediting communication exponentially.

            6.         Security

Another great strength of Helm CONNECT is the ability to limit access for team members and crew, protecting information that is private, sensitive or not relevant, such as performance reviews.

In conclusion…

While the price tag to update your operating systems can initially feel daunting, especially when you originally felt your paper system was cost-effective, it is my hope that exposing the actual labour costs associated with a paper-based system have clarified the true expense of these older ways and your valuation makes a lot more sense now.

These 6 points are only a handful of ways you can directly benefit from going digital with Helm CONNECT. Should you wish to learn the many ways Helm CONNECT can further streamline management across your company, reach out to us at Tiller Technical. We look forward to discussing them further with you.

What software have you tried?  

We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. If you liked this article, please share, and feel free to head on over to the website for more articles like this or to say ahoy.

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